So you’re done with having kids and you’re pondering the best choice for birth control.
Considering a vasectomy?
The thought of getting snipped might make you quiver. First of all, having any sharp object near your genitals is terrifying. And, if you’re like most guys, you’re not a big fan of doctor’s visits, let alone those that involve surgery.
But vasectomies are one of the most effective types of birth control, and approximately half a million men undergo the procedure each year in the United States.
Still apprehensive? What if you could get snipped without getting cut open? That’s right, there are vasectomy options that are less invasive.
HOW TRADITIONAL VASECTOMIES WORK
The vasectomy procedure has been a part of family planning for more than 100 years and has a pretty high success rate.
Traditionally, a doctor administers an anesthetic and then makes one or two small incisions in the scrotum with a scalpel to access the vas deferens, the tubes that transport sperm. The doctor then severs the vas deferens, which prevents sperm from mixing with semen for ejaculation.
The scrotum is then closed with stitches. The procedure only takes 20-30 minutes and requires about three days of resting and icing the genitals for recovery.
However, there can be complications. Vasectomy side effects vary for different guys, but they include bleeding, swelling, bruising, infection at the site of the incision, and pain.
OK, so that doesn’t sound so fun.
THE ALTERNATIVE TO SURGERY
Apparently, men in China are just as afraid of surgery as their American counterparts. So in 1974, Chinese physician Dr. Li Shunquiang developed the no-scalpel vasectomy and doctors in the U.S. began using it in the mid-1980s.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, this procedure uses an advanced technique to anesthetize the scrotum and patients experience less discomfort, fewer complications, a faster operation and a quicker recovery. More resources from Cleveland Clinic here.
In a nonsurgical vasectomy, instead of making an incision in the scrotum, the physician makes one tiny puncture in the skin with a special instrument. Then, the instrument gently stretches the skin to create an opening to reach the vas deferens.
The vas deferens are severed in the same way as the traditional procedure. The primary difference is there is very little bleeding, and no stitches are required because the opening will close quickly on its own.
The procedure takes the same amount of time as a surgical vasectomy; however, recovery is quicker and guys are less likely to experience complications such as bleeding, hematoma, infection, or pain.
For a great overview watch this CBS news video of top NYC urologist Harry Fisch who specializes in the procedure for non-surgical contraception.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A VASECTOMY
Regardless of the type of vasectomy you have, you can negate the procedure if you don’t follow the necessary post-vasectomy protocol.
Sperm can live in your vas deferens for months after the procedure, so if you’re not sure the tubes are clear, you’re susceptible to a surprise pregnancy.
You should use another form of birth control for three months following the procedure, then check your sperm count. Don’t worry, it doesn’t require another dreaded visit to the doctor’s office. You can check your sperm count at home with SpermCheck Vasectomy, a simple, over-the-counter test kit.
Trips to the doctor’s office cause anxiety for most men. But if you want to stop having kids, and you’re considering your options, a nonsurgical vasectomy is a good choice for sterility that doesn’t require a scalpel.